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Annie Mole's, daily web log (blog) & “guide” to the London Underground
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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Noise on the Tube

If only....

Empty Headed

People with loud music carrying through their headphones is a pet hate of mine and many others. You've probably seen this ad on the Tube with the invisible man, presumably playing music as loudly as he likes as he's wearing noise cancelling earplugs.

But would they work on all Lines on the Tube? When I travelled on the Northern Line or even entering a tunnel on the Piccadilly Line, I would normally turn up the volume and often forget the levels and gradually get used to louder and louder music.

You can usually find an expert to confirm most theories and Professor Prasher head of University College London's Audiology unit found that the squealing on the Victoria Line was such that you needed ear protection:

"I am shocked by the levels that we actually recorded. They were peaking at 118dB which is quite horrendous. The squealing and so on near Stockwell and Pimlico is quite astonishing really. It's the equivalent of a big jack hammer going, or a jet engine taking off in the distance.

"Although the journey times for most people are going to be short, this is a cumulative damage. If you regularly commute and use that line, then you need to seriously think about some form of ear protection."

ipeek by Chutney BannisterLondon Underground thought this was fairly unlikely and their head of occupational health said "Although I would agree that the underground is noisy, and particularly in certain areas, it seems rather unlikely that our customers hearing would be damaged because their journey time is much shorter than our train operators. On the Victoria Line we are aware that there is a problem and we have got a programme planned."

I've had a good search for the programme and it seems to be showing the same levels of invisibility as the bloke in the ad. Perhaps the programme was carried out successfully and the trains are now a lot quieter. Any Victoria Line passengers with any thoughts on this? Or are there other parts of the Tube which are worse offenders?

Perhaps there is other Tube noise you'd like to escape from? I'm not wild about the double whammy stereo effect of in-carriage announcements coinciding with the doors opening to the same platform announcements.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, January 31, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tube Couple Have First Date

James Blunt eat your heart out

Tube Couple have first Date

Splashed on the front of Metro yesterday were Melanie Speth and Ben Moon who were brought together by Metro after Ms Speth spotted Mr Moon on the District Line and emailed his picture round the world to track him down. The full story of their first date (which appeared to go remarkably well) along with pre-requisite photos in full Cilla Black Blind Date stylie is here.

Funnily enough it was only last week, that I was wondering whether they'd had their date yet. Some of the commenters to an earlier post on this thought the whole thing looked a bit set up and that Ms Speth was a bit of a "stalker". This view was shared by three girls who were discussing the couple on the Piccadilly Line yesterday:

"I'd be mortified if my picture was all over Metro".
"Yeah how desparate to email everyone trying to find him".
"Did you notice how his girlfriend was chucked by reading it in Metro".
"I know apparently they were living together and she didn't know they'd split".
"Nice way to hear about it, he's a bastard".

This piece of news puts a sour taste on what could have been a nice romantic story. Jana Burianova, Mr Moon's ex-girlfriend, was out of the country, when Metro first published the story. She only discovered they were splitting up after reading about his not-so-secret admirer in Metro and Mr Moon claimed he'd been single for a fortnight. Which was news to her, the cad. At least Jana can join the ranks of Minnie Driver and Mel B by discovering that they were dumped through the press. She'll probably have loads of guys emailing Metro offering her their shoulder to cry on.

If you fancy your chances with someone you fancy on the Tube, or want a James Blunt "I saw your face in a crowded place" moment, don't despair. There's a whole slew of websites where you can post details of yourself and the person you see each day but can't talk to. These include Tubeping, londontubemates, snoglondon and the oldest to my knowledge, isawyoutoday.com. I expect to see Tubepimp.com coming soon (well someone's bought the domain and I dread to think what else they are going to do with a URL like that).

If anyone has ever got a date out of one I would love to hear. Or if you fancy being a guinea pig, perhaps we could test them out to see which one works best.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, January 30, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, January 26, 2007

Tube Blog - Bloggies Finalist

Get your votes in by 2nd Feb

Bloggies 2007 - London Underground Blog - Finalist Best British & Irish Blog

Sorry, I'm just not as cool as many of the other finalists (although what do you expect from a blog about trains), but I wanted to say THANKS to everyone who nominated this blog so it got in front of the judging panel. It's now reached the finals for the 2007 Weblog Awards - The Bloggies - under Best British or Irish Blog.

This is the third year the blog's reached the finals under this category and it's great being a finalist. Over the years I've been amazed at how brilliant you've all been with sending in funny stories, nightmare journeys, photographs of Tube roundels not in their natural homes, pictures of Tube fashion victims to add to the growing Flickr set, videos, news, random subway stories from around the world and generally for being great commenters, emailers, visitors and lurkers.

The blog really is now as much yours as it is mine. So keep up the great work.

Also wanted to say congrats to UK category finalists and send particularly good wishes to the following for reaching the finals too - Zoe - My Boyfriend is a Twat - Best European Blog, Jack from Pandemian - Best Writing. Jack (formerly GreenFairy.com) has been a long time commenter and supporter of this blog and I'm pleased to have met her too. Likewise was good to meet last year's winner of Best British & Irish - Girl With a One Track Mind & Hugh Macleod from Gaping Void who markets some very nice wine. Delighted to see Arseblog in the finals for Best Sports Blog. And a thousand yays to Flickr for being simply fab.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, January 26, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Snowy Tube

London Underground blame Metronet, Metronet blame London Underground

I was surprised to see that London Underground actually admitting that something could have been done to prevent the delays thousands of passengers experienced yesterday.

Delays apology

"Cold weather and a threat of snow were forecast and Metronet chose not to undertake the necessary prevention work overnight," a spokesman said.

"This includes running special trains to clear snow and ice from tracks and junctions and having extra technical staff available.

"This failure to deal with the forecast cold weather led directly to much of the problems on the Tube."

But Metronet blamed London Underground, arguing that it had deemed the risk of severe weather to be small.

My favourite Flickr picture from yesterday's snow.

East Putney in snow by Anna Fraser

From annagfraser's snowy London set

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, January 25, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

London Challenge Tube Map

Weirdest Tube Map Ever

Many thanks to Max Roberts (author of
Underground Maps After Beck and a commenter to this blog) who pointed me in the direction of this map

Detail from London Challenge Tube Map

At first glance you'll think "Ah it's some of London's schools". But then on closer inspection you wonder what would have possessed a school authority to name its school after a DJ, a soap star or a shouty entrepeneur.

All's revealed here: "Transport for London (TfL) has produced a special map, based on the Tube map. TfL has replaced the stations with some of the capital's successful schools, inspirational teachers, excellent GCSE students and successful Londoners who went to state schools, including Rio Ferdinand, Sir Michael Caine, Emma Thompson and Mayor of London Ken Livingstone."

Why? The mind boggles. OK, OK I know, somehow this celebrates London's kids doing well in GCSE's. Very well done to them.

But from a geographical point of view, the map makers should failed their cartography exams. As the map seems to bear little relation as to where the schools actually are. Max said "Haberdashers' Aske's was definitely not at Shadwell when I was there, or have they moved it since I last looked?" The same can be said with schools in West London on the Piccadilly Line, which I'm most familar with. It's stretching the imagination to think that Gumley House (in Isleworth) is anywhere near Acton Town Tube. Keira Knightley went to school in Teddington about six miles away from Gunnersbury.

I'm sure it won't take you long to spot many more inaccuracies. Goodness knows what this is doing to the legacy of Harry Beck's map. I feel a law suit coming on.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, January 24, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Snow on the Lines

It's snowing in London

Expect to see lots of these today and thanks to Michael W for emailing this to me

The right type of snow

You wouldn't think it ever snowed in England. Check out the TfL site for the latest delays. If your journey was hideous let us know.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, January 24, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tube Bomb plot CCTV footage on News

CCTV Footage of July 21stTV stations show court footage

Woolwich Crown Court have released footage of the scenes from July 21st 2005, where alledged Tube bomber Ramzi Mohammed is seen confronted by an off-duty fireman Angus Campbell. I watched the news last night and saw passengers running from the Northern Line carriage at Oval and Mr Campbell stepping in front of a mother and her child who were closest to Mohammed.

When Mohammed legs it from the train, a number of passengers run after him including retired engineer George Brawley who said he "came running up the platform like Linford Christie."

"I grabbed him by his forearms. I did not know what to do to stop him. But he broke free easily. He got past me without breaking step. I did my best but he was too slippery," said Mr Brawley.

Another retired man, former soldier Arthur Burton-Garbett, 72, also told the court he leapt from the train in pursuit of Mohammed.

Mr Burton-Garbett said he smelt the explosive cordite, which he recognised from his days testing ammunition in the army.

Apparently he was only about nine or 10 steps behind Mr Mohammed on the escalator but "started to run out of steam".

See the BBC for the more on this plus view the video here.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, January 24, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Not so Green Park

Things to learn about Green Park

Green Park station seems to be fairly lacking in green-ness as the following two pictures show. This shot by
Chutney Bannister almost looks as though there's been a dirty protest:

Green Park by Chutney Bannister

Away from the dirt, Jag from Route79 uncovered something about the walkway that connects the Jubilee Line and Piccadilly Lines at Green Park

Green Park by Jag

He said "walking at a brisk pace is what I normally do whenever I have to do this tunnel. So brisk that I never really notice a very clever but quirky little detail about this walkway.

"We all know that the colour coding used on the Tube is excellent, consistent and familiar. For example, that the colour of the Piccadilly Line is dark blue and and the Jubilee Line is grey (or silver), but did you know that as you walk from the Picc platform to the Jub platform through this tunnel at Green Park, the tiny little mosaic tiles on the white walls of this tunnel start off with speckles of dark blue only and then gradually become a mixture of dark blue and grey as you progress through the tunnel, eventually becoming grey only at the Jub Line end?

I like to think that I know my Tube mosaics, but London Underground still manage to surprise me with their designs. Like Jag I've done that walk loads of times and have never noticed that before. Do you have a favourite little known design "secret" about the Tube?

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, January 23, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, January 22, 2007

Not on the London Underground

More Tube Roundels not on the Tube

Thanks to everyone who's sending in the
Tube Roundels which are not in their natural homes. Here's one from commenting regular Dmitri which he took over Christmas in Essen in Germany.

Underground Shop in Essen, Germany

He said: "It is in fact a chain and there's shop in every big German city!". Interesting how a chain store had managed to spring up using the roundel.

MJ sent in the following from a massage parlour in Northampton - that's Northampton Massachusetts, so the Tube's lawyers need to get their passports out to visit this one.

Massage Underground taken by MJ

She said "Utter brandalism, and quite unattractive."

Some more brandalism from spotted by Dave L on a Holiday Inn Sign. It was in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago just west of O'Hare Airport.

Old Chicago sign at Elk Grove Village, Illinois

Finally a nice shot from Chris Awkward McKenna where people appear to be waiting outside a Tube station sponsored by Nike

Accrington Tube Station?

However it's a sports shop in Accrington called "Tube Station". Chris said: "Sorry about the quality of the photo, it was taken on my phone (I was shopping for a replacement adapter so I could charge my camera's batteries at the time)"

Many thanks and keep them coming so that I can add to the growing set.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, January 22, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, January 19, 2007

Toilets on the Tube

Time to cross your legs

I never saw the member of staff who wrote this note and stuck on the loo door, but I get the feeling that he or she was having a laugh.

Kew Gardens Station Toilet

"Sorry but the gents is out of order." I think would have been enough. But the note continued: "If you can't hold it, there is a pub outside the main exit". This is really handy at 9 o'clock in the morning when I took the picture. Perhaps the staff were suggesting that you could shelter by the side of the pub and have a leak.

The note ended with a cheerful "Sorry again. Have a nice day!". Really?

Sadly, there isn't an official Tube Map to help out here. Although Geoff produced a handy unofficial Tube map which shows which stations have toilets.

Toilets on the London Underground

It's notable that there are certain parts of the system which are fairly loo-free. You're basically stuffed on the Wimbledon branch of the District Line. And not surprisingly the Misery Line lives up to its name as there appear to be very few toilets on the southern stretch of the Northern Line.

Also if Geoff's done his research correctly it looks like if all the toilets are working, us girls should have a better time of it. Turnham Green, Baron's Court, Amersham & Highgate all have a Ladies' loos and no Gents. Whereas only Mill Hill East and Upney have Gents but no Ladies. Guys, I think you should campaign for the balance to be re-dressed!

; Posted by annie mole Friday, January 19, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

London Underground Fashion Victims

Fashion Victims on the Tube

It's Friday and time for the TFV's or Tube Fashion Victims.

Dotty Bag and Tattoo

Regular readers will know that I'm not a big fan of tattoos. I really didn't like this particular example mainly because I spent about 10 minutes staring at it and trying to work out what it was.

Matching Bag and Tattoo

Were the tights hiding some wonderful artwork? If you have tattoos on your legs where do you stand with tights? Do you deliberately wear sheer tights so that your tattoo is on display?

Batty Vans

Since I've been doing the TFV's I've been amazed at the varieties of Vans that are around. I thought they were just black and white checks and that was it. Firstly the pink caught my eye and then I realised the black specky things were bats.

Batty Vans

I quite liked the way these did not completely cover the shoe and that there were even some flying towards the sole.

That's it for now. The previous victims can be found here and the complete picture gallery can be seen on the following Flickr set.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, January 19, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Bad Weather AND Tube Staff Vote on Strike Action

Oh the weather outside is frightful

Virtually every Tube line is either partially suspended or having severe delays right now, so it's worth checking TfL's real-time travel delays if you're travelling tonight. Ironically the Waterloo & City Line is fine and dandy at the time of writing this.

New Year and Bob's Back

The Rail Maritime & Transport union is going to ballot 6,500 workers, including station staff, drivers and ticket office employees, after failing to reach agreement over a pay rise with London Underground.

Apparently 10 months have been spent with "fruitless attempts" to negotiate a pay deal and that a pay rise was due last April. LU has offered a three-year deal worth 4% in the current financial year and the rate of inflation plus at least 0.5% in subsequent years.

General secretary of the RMT, Bob Crow isn't happy about this

"We were asked to submit our pay claim in good time and we did so, but LU did not enter talks at all until after last April's anniversary date.

"They have since spent the best part of 10 months stonewalling, insisting on a multi-year deal and attempting to link the pay talks with entirely unrelated issues.

"We could not even win from them a pledge not to impose new draconian disciplinary and attendance policies over the course of any long-term deal.

"We have now reached the end of the road. LU can avoid industrial action by paying the increase that is due to our members but they should understand that RMT members are prepared to defend the gains they have made in recent years."

The ballot will end in mid-February and any strikes could start at the end of next month. See the BBC for more on this.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, January 18, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

No Pants Subway Ride

Wish the Tube Fashion Victims would do this

New York's sixth Annual No Pants Subway Ride went off without a hitch on Saturday, where hundreds of people rode the subway with no trousers or skirts.

Photo by Agent Goralnick

Look out for a full report of the event which is due to be posted on Improv Everywhere's site. You may be pleased to hear that unlike last year they managed to not get arrested as they had a police escort "as if we were a parade". In 2006 a police officer stopped a train at 59th Street, ordered all the pantless commuters off, and handcuffed eight of them on the platform. A judge later threw out the disorderly conduct charges, noting that it was not illegal to wear underwear in public.

The comdedic commuters, or rather agents, start off slowly with just one or two people getting on the train in boxers or shorts. Then gradually more get on so there's about 30 or 40 people sans kecks. I like Agent Isom's video particularly for the bemused & slightly shifty look of the policeman at the end.

The subway fashion victims haven't been let down though, as I was pleased to see one of the agents wearing just a jumper and Uggs.

Photo by Chad Nicholson

For more pictures see Chad Nicholson's great Flickr sets and expect to see this on the Tube next year. Although No Pants Tube Ride would have to be translated as something else. Pants doesn't mean trousers or jeans over here and I think it might be illegal to travel without underwear in public. Plus any ride on the Northern Line is generally pants, so that would be too confusing. Any suggestions.......?

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, January 18, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Jury see Tube bomb attempt

Hero took on Tube BomberFireman and passengers show true courage

This is one jury I would have hated to sit on. CCTV footage of would be suicide bombers was shown to the jury in the 21st July terror trial yesterday. The main footage that is on most headlines surrounds one of the suspects, Ramzi Mohammed.

Prosecuting QC, Nigel Sweeney said "As he went to board the train fellow travellers noticed he appeared to be whispering to himself. He boarded the second carriage of the six-car train. The carriage was quite full

"There was a woman with a small child in a buggy. While the train was in the tunnel, Mohammed turns his rucksack to face the mother and child by him and fires the bomb. The detonator fires, but the main charge doesn't

After the detonator was pulled, passengers fled the scene but an off duty fireman, Angus Campbell stayed behind to argue with Mohammed as he tried to leave the train near Oval station. Campbell shouted at Mohammed who said "what's the matter, it's bread". Woolwich Crown Court heard he then tried to pass off the blame by adding "it wasn't me, it was that", pointing at his rucksack. "He placed the rucksack on the floor of the carriage, no doubt the best he could do, being surprised to find himself alive." said Sweeney.

Once the Northern Line train pulled into Oval station, the CCTV cameras catch Mohammed running, pursued by a number of extremely brave passengers who had witnessed the terrifying scenes.

Other Tube stations which were part of the botched bomb attacks were revealed. Yassin Hasssan Omar was to board a Victoria Line train from Stockwell and attempt to detonate his bomb as the Tube approached Warren Street. Hussain Osman had intended to detonate a bomb on a Hammersmith & City line Tube going from Paddington towards Hammersmith.

The trial continues.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, January 17, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tube Buskers Need New Sponsor

Bye bye Carling, Hello.....???

Who's going to be clever/brave/mad/stupid enough to take on the sponsorship of the London Underground's official buskers now that Carling's contract has ended?

From TfL's recent
press release "Passengers travelling on the Underground from January 2007 will notice that the familiar half moon Carling branded busking pitches have been replaced network-wide by new LU designs." I must have been walking round with my eyes shut as this has only just struck home with me - which possibly shows I pay more attention to the busker than the sponsor.

Busker Leicester Square

With the shadow of the Carling half moons

Apparently scheme has over 356 buskers entertaining millions of commuters each day on around 30 pitches in about 20 stations and providing over 3,000 hours of entertainment each week.

Steve Lewis, TfL's Contracts Manager, Advertising & Sponsorship said of the busking service: "It will remain managed in house until a suitable sponsor is selected to help this unique and successful initiative to keep on flourishing and developing."

So who would you like to see sponsoring the buskers? I would love to see them sponsored by Simon Cowell or the X-Factor / Idol franchise. Whatever TfL are asking for in cash would be pocket money for Cowell. If they had interactive screens behind the buskers, they could be hooked up to a sensor to make Cowell scowl or give his famous toothy grin depending on whether money was donated or not.

And if you ever thought about giving up the day job you can apply to be a Tube busker here. Which makes me wonder what songs are guaranteed to get buskers the most money? Years ago Q tested this out and Wonderwall made it to the top. Perhaps I can get a friendly busker to carry out a similar experiment.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, January 16, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

The cost of Tube Surfing

NOT the way to ride a train

At the moment there seem to be more stories in the news about people doing things on Tubes rather than inside them. Train Surfing, is nothing to do with surfing the net to find out about trains. It's about riding trains from the outside.

Tube Surfer costs £94K

I'd first come across this activity in Barbara Vine's London Underground novel - King Solomon's Carpet where it was referred to as Tube train sledging. In Vine's novel, one of the kids that does this, lies on the top of a Tube and comes to a fairly sticky end. Yesterday's londonpaper reported that a 20 year old schizophrenic man cost the Underground £94,000 and stranded thousands of rush hour commuters after train surfing. He was spotted riding the back of a Jubilee Line carriage at Baker Street. Fortunately he's now been detained under the Mental Health Act.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, January 16, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, January 13, 2007

'Artists' killed on the Underground

Pair hit by train after being discovered

Today, carrying on from the scenes that reigned at Camden Town and Brixton when the Tube re-opened on Boxing Day, graffiti 'artists' have been given a wake up call following the death of two men yesterday evening.

The two men, aged 21 and 23 had reportedly been spraying District Line trains in Barking depot as part of a group of four. Although this has yet to be confimed by the British Transport Police.

Security, having spotted them, called out to the group before calling police. This caused the group to flee the scene, two of them straight into the path of an oncoming train. BTP said that security staff are told not to chase tresspassers due to the dangers of trains and electrified equipment. Police arrested a two people for criminal damage although they have now been released on bail.

The line was closed from East Ham to Dagenham from 2310 on Friday until after 0800 on Saturday whilst Police carried out their investigation.

Even Banksy wouldn't go this far......

Comments on this are now closed - read the last comment made by Annie

; Posted by Chris Saturday, January 13, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, January 12, 2007

Tube Cupid

Will it have a happy ending?
Tube Heartthrob found

I often wonder how many of people get to speak to the "potential" love of their life after they write into Metro's Commuter Cupid page. They see the same person day after day and use Metro in the hope that the attraction is mutual. However, a German tourist, on a brief trip to London, will be meeting up with a guy she spotted on the District Line, after her email reached Metro's offices.

She wrote "Now I haven't neither his name, nor his e-mail address, because I don't had the trust to speak to him! I have only this one picture! And now I am back in Germany and I can't forget him! That's why I have this crazy idea!"

For some reason Metro featured this yesterday and today the man has been identified as Ben Moon, who luckily enough for Melanie Speth, is single (after splitting up with his girlfriend two weeks ago) and also he thinks Ms Speth "looks lovely". Metro in a fit of matchmaking lurveness have even offered to fly Ms Speth over to England for their first date. Ahhhhhh.

So photography seems to be the trick here. Perhaps Commuter Cupid should be re-introduced with people snapping pictures of their targets.

I haven't got pockets as large as Metro, but if you fall in love with any of the Tube fashion victims, let me know. Perhaps they might like to be outed if they are young free and single and looking for love.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, January 12, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tube Heroes and Northern Line Strike Threat Averted

Chuk IwujiTu Be or not Tu Be - Shakespearean actor rescues woman on Tube Tracks

Only last week Donald Trump gave a $10,000 reward to a "Superman" who rescued a woman from the New York subway, so will we see Jeffrey Archer or Alan Sugar do the same with RSC actor Chuk Iwuji and an anonymous bystander? Both men leapt onto the tracks to drag a woman to safety at Clapham South station as a train approached.

Mr Iwuji said he was listening to music on Monday morning as he waited for his train when he heard shouts. "This girl was on the tracks. She was obviously trapped and could not move; it looked like she was doing some kind of head-stand. She was upside down when the train was just pulling in," he said.

"She would have been about 30ft from the opening of the tunnel and the train probably stopped about 20ft from her. There was a moment when I thought it was not going to stop in time."

The other man had jumped down first and this triggered Iwuji to act as well. Not content with that, the gallant actor risked electrocution a second time to rescue her shoe which had been left behind. Must have been a Jimmy Choo!

TfL don't look as though they will be following New York's example, with a civic reward, and said: "We thank the two members of the public who helped this passenger. But we would caution strongly against people risking their lives by going on to the track, which is highly dangerous. Our staff are well trained to deal with such emergencies, and, as this incident shows, our safety procedures work." Check out the BBC for the full story.

Ironically, the New York subway rescuer has now been given a free Jeep, so perhaps this means his days of leaping in front of trains are over.

Sacked driver back in the job

After the possibility of strike action on the Northern Line you can breathe a sigh of relief as the Tube driver that was at the centre of the dispute has been re-instated. LU said he would return to work under close supervision.

An LU spokesman said: "A decision was made on appeal that, while the driver was guilty of a misdemeanour, the original dismissal was too severe.

"As a result it has been reduced to a suspended sentence of 12 months."

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, January 11, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Central Line Fan's Creative Child Naming

A suggestion for Jermaine

My newest favourite person is Jermaine Jackson. I missed the bizarre moment when JJ entered the Celebrity Big Brother house last week and Davina gushed that Jermaine was a big fan of the London Underground and his favourite line was the Central Line.

Jermaine and Fellow Central Line fans
Jermaine and Fellow Central Line fans

I've not watched CBB since the opening night, but I can't quite see JJ in the house chatting with Leo Sawyer & Jade Goody about the line's merits.

(Shepherd's Bush - is that in the countryside? - Goody might screech).

However, thanks to a post on the
Yahoo! Answers Blog, I learnt that JJ has another unlikely hobby. Creative child naming:

"First came Jermaine Jr, then Autumn, then Dawn. Jeremy soon followed, as did Jaimy and Jourdyn. Six children might be enough for most fathers, but not Jermaine, who soon was welcoming Jaffar to the family. Jermaine then took his child-naming abilities to new heights, christening the next arrival Jermajesty.

Such heights must have had an effect on Jermaine as for his ninth child he broke from his alliterative tradition to name him … Dave. Thankfully, tradition was not long broken as baby Jesus arrived in this world. Jesus Jackson, that is
." (wikipedia fount of all knowledge confirms this)

Why didn't he put any Tube station names in there? Admittedly none begin with the letter J, but there are lots of lovely unusual first names he could have chosen from his favourite line - Fairlop, Debden, Hainault, Leyton & Snaresbrook. They all have a rather exotic ring to them and certainly beat Dave if you're going to break from tradition.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, January 09, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, January 08, 2007

New pocket Tube Map

But is it art? (revisited)

Take the twelve colours of the Tube Lines. Add a date in January to make people wonder about the significance. Break the date up, so that you focus on sections like day and six and een. Pitch it to the guys at TfL as a utopian zeitgeist vision of what might happen on the eve of a revolution in transport. And bingo, you've got a brand new cover for January's pocket Tube Map and a nice little earner.

The Day Before - Tube Map

Sometimes, I really wish that I had enough artistic balls err... sorry talent to do this. But I haven't. So I'll just marvel at Liam Gillick's The Day Before (You know what they'll call it? They'll call it the Tube) as he laughs all the way to the bank.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, January 08, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, January 05, 2007

London Underground Fashion Victims

Fashion Victims on the Tube

It's Friday, the first Friday of 2007 and the first fashion victims of the year. The
Tube's been great this week as there's only about half the people as normal on it but that does mean in commuting hours it's been harder to find the victims, but fortunately Mags and Patricia were able to help me out as they spotted some rather unusual looks this week. They seem to both have slight celebrity lookalikes - or perhaps dressalikes.

Xmas party at Glamoursmith

Patricia, who's a big fashion victim fan snapped this lady at Hammersmith I believe with one of the tiniest Xmas hats I've seen.

Glamoursmith Christmas Party

Very Matt Lucas with his micro hat George Dawes or the only gay in the village look.

Ugly Betty

The new US comedy series Ugly Betty starts tonight and you may have seen the trailers of the woman with the nasty teeth braces, thick black glasses and a style of her own who appears to enter the lion's den of the fashionista world.
The real ugly betty

Mags spotted someone who looks like she was auditioning for the role. Mags said: "Note the fuschia coat, red tights, silver shoes and blue beret. She was also wearing specs with black frames - so Ugly Betty it was untrue."

Ugly Betty Look

Panto Boots?

Sometimes I put victims on here, who I'm just jealous of as they have the figure to carry off something I couldn't. She's got the legs for these boots and shorts, but from this angle the whole look was pretty unflattering.

Denim Shorts & Boots

Still I don't suppose she put on the outfit thinking that some idiot woman behind her might take a shot of the back of her legs.

Turn Up with wallpaper

Same escalator and no excuse with this look though, as it wouldn't have looked better from any angle.
Turn Up with Wallpaper

On her right leg you can see that at some stage she's worn these jeans not turned at all as there's the beginnings of some fraying. So she probably thought "Oh no can't have my jeans fraying I'll better turn them up. Mmm but how much? Oh I know, six inches should do it". Madness!

That's it for this now with the victims and many thanks to Mags and Patricia for grabbing the first two. The previous victims can be found here and the complete picture gallery can be seen on the following Flickr set.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, January 05, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Japanese Subway Behaviour

Only in Japan

Could you imagine if we had heads popping out of the ticket machines on the Tube whenever we needed help?

Japanese Subway Customer Service

"It seems that in Japan, land of robots, coins are returned from railway ticket machines by a man who sticks his head out of a small slot to communicate." From Dethroner.

Also if the families of "one unders" or suicide victims had to pay the subway system for the delays caused!

"Trains don't usually stop too long after a suicide, there's rarely much damage to carriages and we rarely have to send anyone off to catch trains on different lines. In that regard, train suicides probably don't cost too much," says an employee of a commuter line. "But to make sure we can cover the costs incurred when a suicide leads to a derailment, we have to ask the bereaved families of suicide victims to compensate us. The costs are usually in the range of 100 million yen, but I've heard of a case where a family was billed 140 million yen after someone killed themselves by jumping in front of a train."

100 million yen is about 42,000 pounds which sounds more than a tad extortionate, even for a derailment. I know that Tube drivers quite rightly go through counselling when they experience a "one under" and I'm sure if they ever felt that they couldn't go back to work as a result, they wouldn't think of suing the family of the victim. Even if they could find some sharky lawyer to do this, surely no judge would award them 42,000 pounds.

I'm just amazed at how they got to this figure. Let's just hope that Sheriff Ken doesn't get wind of this, and thinks of it as a way of introducing some extra revenue.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, January 05, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Multi Tube station spotting

Where can you spot the most London Underground Stations from?

The things I get asked sometimes. I need some help with this. Apparently there is a place in London where you can see five (or possibly six) Tube stations from one spot. That's at ground level in case any of you smart alecs think you must be able to spot loads from a helicopter or the London Eye or Google Earth. I'd like to think that it's somewhere around Bank or even Charing Cross or Embankment - but I wouldn't have thought as many as five. Unless it's possibly from Hampstead Heath with a good set of binoculars.

That's one of the many things I like about the Tube though. With over 270 stations you would think there would be more than one station that didn't contain any letters of the word badger. Or more than one station with no letter from the word lobster. (We've known about mackerel & St John's Wood for some time now, but I love the fact that someone has sat down and worked these things out).

So come on, someone must know this, it's not even in Wikipedia. Hopefully it's not just an urban legend.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, January 03, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Northern Line Strike Threat

Northern Line When did staff look like that?New Year, Old Tube

On the day when most people are going back to work, it's good to welcome in the New Year on the Tube with news that strike action is being threatened on the Northern Line (will anyone notice? I hear some of you ask). It appears that a driver who has worked for LU for 22 years passed through a red signal or there was a SPAD (Signal Passed at Danger - for those who know such things). Union Aslef district organiser Steve Grant said that the SPAD was the result of technical problems and that the driver shouldn't have been sacked. Consequently Aslef are going to ballot members over possible industrial action.

Describing the sacking as "draconian", Steve Grant said: "This man has 20 years of experience and there is no technical evidence to support the charge."

There's nothing on Aslef's site about this but if the strike goes ahead 660,000 people will need to find another way to travel.

Anger at Fare RisesFare's Fare?

In other news Sheriff Ken is doing his annual defence of the annual rise in fares which took place this morning. "Get an Oystercard" is his standard mantra or if you want the spin (with a record number of times Oyster can mentioned in one paragraph):

"2007 is the year to get onto Oyster if you haven't already, and today is the best day to start. The headlines about big cash fare increases today show that the savings are now to be found on Oyster with many Oyster fares now half the cost of the cash alternative whilst the Oyster daily price cap for adults remains fifty pence below the One Day Travelcard price. A single journey on the Tube in zone one is frozen at £1.50 when using Oyster and peak bus fares with Oyster frozen at £1."

Getting through TfL's site to find a way of travelling without an Oystercard or travelcard, you'll eventually learn that if you don't have one you'll be paying four quid for a single fare in via Zone 1. (2007 fares are here). I wonder how many people who regularly travel into London don't have an Oyster or travelcard though? How long is Ken going to carry on widening the gap between the fares here?

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, January 02, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, January 01, 2007

Blog in Metro

Does this mean TfL's seal of approval?

Quite a good end to the year to find your blog featured in a paper that you spend every morning commute reading. Although the jury's out on what I feel about being called one of London's obsessives.

London Tube Blog in Metro December 29 2006

Click on the image above to read the feature in full, and many thanks to Alex James for the interview

Happy New Year and many thanks to all readers, commenters, contributors, lurkers and visitors old and new. And of course to TfL for giving me something to blog about for the past four years!

; Posted by annie mole Monday, January 01, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE